Arsene Wenger has reportedly lost patience with his central defensive partnership of Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker and will make a concerted effort to sign Swansea’s Ashley Williams this summer.
Arsenal’s defense suffered its latest humbling as it crumbled to allow Spurs to score twice in three minutes en route to a 2-1 victory for their north London rivals on Sunday. After an encouraging start to the season, in part attributed to new assistant coach and former Gunners defender Steve Bould, the back line has again become a huge area of concern.
Williams has been linked to Arsenal before and now the Guardian reports that the Wales international’s leadership traits have made him a primary target for Wenger this summer.The 28-year-old has been a big part of establishing Swansea in the Premier League as well as captaining them to the League Cup last month. According to the Guardian, Arsenal will face competition from Liverpool for a player who is likely to cost in the region of £8 million.
With Arsenal having struggled defensively for so many seasons, the question more surely be posed, though, how much of it is a personnel problem and how much of it is down to coaching, or a lack thereof.
Arsenal will have significant funds at their disposal this summer as well as a seemingly growing need to spend it and understandably that the Gunners are the subject of much transfer speculation.
Metro suggests that Wenger has his eyes on young Feyenoord midfielder Jordy Clasie. With his slight frame and excellent vision and passing, the 21-year-old has received the tag of the “Dutch Xavi.” Clasie’s performances for Feyenoord earned him a first cap for the Netherlands last September.
According to Metro, Arsenal will have to battle it out with Tottenham and Italian side Fiorentina for Clasie’s signature.
Arsenal have also been linked with another of Europe’s young talents in FC Copenhagen striker Andreas Cornelius. Still only 19, Cornelius tops the scoring charts in the Danish Super League this season with an impressive 14 goals in 21 appearances.
Likened in his homeland to on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner, Cornelius has already been capped by Denmark. Manchester United, Juventus and Internazionale are also thought to be interested in the front man, but Cornelius is taking a pragmatic approach to his immediate future.
"I think that the Premier League is the best league in the world and I would love to play there,” he said, according to Sky Sports.
"It would be like a dream coming true. But there is still a long way and I still have plenty to learn.
"I have a contract with Copenhagen for the next four years so that seems like a good time frame for me, although things change quickly in football so you never know."
Cornelius is not the only promising forward to be linked to Arsenal this week, with Metro suggesting that the club is trailing Auxerre’s Yaya Sanogo. The 20-year-old burst onto the scene last month as he scored four goals in a Ligue 2 match against Stade Laval. Incredibly he then followed that up with a hat-trick against Tours a week later.
Wenger has a history of plucking young players from the French leagues and reports in his homeland suggest that the France Under-21 international could become the latest.